Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Science Behind Marijuana And Migraines

It’s estimated that over 1 billion individuals worldwide suffer from the debilitating pain of migraines. And now new research shows that CBD may help.

There is nothing quite like a migraine. The American Migraine Foundation (AMF) estimates that over 1 billion individuals worldwide suffer from the debilitating pain of migraines. With 1 in 5 women, 1 in 16 men, and 1 in 11 children all dealing with the life-changing effects of migraines, it’s no wonder CBD and marijuana are often brought up as a means of therapy.

Dr. Stephen Silberstein, director of the Headache Center at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, recently published a piece with the AMF that showcased the benefits and risks of CBD and THC for those that experience migraines. He states, “If you have a lot of neck pain or soreness, it is perfectly reasonable to use CBD oil. It may even prevent nausea and vomiting,” symptoms often associated with a severe migraine episode. 

Dr. Silberstein also notes that while CBD and medical marijuana is not yet legal in all states, patients should consult their doctor and research where their CBD is made to ensure it’s labeled correctly. 

RELATED: Is Marijuana’s CBD Good For Combating Migraines?

Do studies exist to showcase other benefits that CBD offers those that have migraines?  

A study from the University of Colorado, published in the journal Pharmacotherapy, showed that the frequency of migraines in patients who used cannabis dropped from 10.4 per month to 4.6 — a number that’s both statistically and clinically significant. Additionally, secondary findings showed that different cannabis delivery routes had different strengths: Smoked marijuana, which hits the bloodstream almost instantly, was best for treating acute migraines. On the other hand, edibles, which take much longer to metabolize, helped prevent headaches.

relieve your migraines
Photo by JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

The Association of Migraine Disorders shared a first-hand account of Michelle Tracy, who explained her fear and hesitation to try CBD and marijuana to combat migraines. Her compelling story serves as a reminder that often, when patients are told, “there’s nothing else that can be done,” it can cause debilitating stress and confusion. Travis closes her story with, “I remain optimistic that there is even more help to be found as more research is conducted, and as marijuana becomes even more socially acceptable.” 

RELATED: 5 Painful Medical Conditions Topical Cannabis Products Can Relieve

While CBD offers therapy above and beyond prescriptions, Mayo Clinic cites that patients need to be aware of risks as well. “Though it’s often well-tolerated, CBD can cause side effects, such as dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue.” For those that spend days in the dark, it may be time to bring up CBD to their health care team to investigate if it’s a viable solution to their migraines.  


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